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Our Team

Sarah Newton
Operations Director


Sarah heads up the BAC, which involves everything from our day-to-day running to ensuring our full compliance with the Code of Sports Governance.

She is responsible for the delivery of the Athlete Support Unit and Athlete Engagement.

Sarah is an experienced operational lead and joined the BEAA having led operations for the charity Safe Passage. Her previous operational roles have seen her spend nine years at the Rugby Football Union as well as supporting The Football Association.

Sarah is qualified in Safer Recruitment, GDPR and Understanding Equality and Diversity.

Sam Little
Head of Athlete Support


Sam joined the BAC in early 2018 as Head of Athlete Support after a 20+ year career in the Army.

Sam is a qualified workplace mediator and has an extensive portfolio of work in this area in both the military and high-performance sport. She is passionate about mediation and the powerful benefits that it can have to both individuals and their organisation.

Sam’s work focuses on empowering athletes, both individually and collectively, to have a voice, to raise and resolve their own issues. Sam is an associate member of CIPD.


Carly Baldwin
Communications Manager


Carly joined the BAC in 2020, after five years in the communications team at British Cycling. 

Those five years saw the organisation going through a period of significant change, implementing recommendations from the Cycling Independent Review in order to ensure that athlete wellbeing was prioritised.

Carly also acted as press officer to the Great Britain para-cycling team, accompanying the squad to several world championships and working on behalf of riders and staff to increase coverage of para-cycling.


Elaine Francis
Athlete Support Manager


Elaine joined the BAC as Head of Safeguarding and Athlete Support Manager in March 2021.

Prior to this, she worked at the NSPCC, from where she was seconded to the BAC to lead the support team set up specifically to offer end-to-end case management for children, families and elite athletes affected by allegations of mistreatment in gymnastics.

Elaine held a team manager role at the NSPCC from 2019, and prior to that gained considerable experience in Social Worker and Senior Social Worker roles in both England and Northern Ireland.

As part of her role at the BAC, Elaine works alongside both athletes and sports to ensure that safeguarding processes are understood and being correctly implemented.


Emma Speer
Athlete Support Manager


Emma joined the BAC permanently in October 2021, after almost a year seconded to the organisation from the NSPCC, providing support those children, athletes and families submitting evidence to the Whyte Review into mistreatment in gymnastics.

As well as her role as an Athlete Support Manager, she leads on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the organisation, ensuring that the BAC is constantly progressing in this regard.

Prior to this, Emma worked as a Helpline Practitioner for the NSPCC, following a role as a Senior Safeguarding Children and Families Officer at a high school in Leeds.

Based in Belfast, Emma is passionate about sport having played international football for Northern Ireland at youth level and completed a degree in sports studies at Leeds Beckett University.


Manpreet Gill
Athlete Support Manager


Manpreet (Mannie) joined the BAC as an Athlete Support Manager in January 2022.

Mannie’s background and experience prior to this was as a qualified Senior Probation Officer working for the National Probation Service.

Mannie previously worked for the BAC in 2020-2021 during a secondment from the NSPCC. She formed part of the support team that was set up specifically to offer case management support for children, families and elite athletes affected by allegations of mistreatment in gymnastics.


Ellie Simmonds
Athlete Voice and Representative Co-ordinator


Multiple Paralympic champion Ellie joined the BEAA in the role of Athlete Voice and Athlete Representative Co-ordinator in January 2022, following her retirement from para-swimming.

Ellie took part in the first of her four Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008, aged just 13. She quickly became one of the most recognisable faces in British sport, and claimed a total of five Paralympic and nine world titles across her glittering career.

Awarded an OBE in 2013, Ellie also plays an active role in encouraging young people to get into sport, and is a Board member for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Having been an Athlete Representative during her career, Ellie now works alongside Reps from across Olympic and Paralympic sport to ensure that the athlete voice is being heard, listened to and acted upon.

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